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Taiwan Church News

3347 Edition

April 18 - 24, 2016

Headline News

 

Dr William Sia, Taiwan's Albert Schweitzer, Is Commemorated At His Centenary Birthday

 

Reported by Lin Yi-yin

 

If Dr William Sia, whose birthday was 2 March 1916, is still alive today, he should be a centenarian. Lived only with a short life-span, though, he was 55-years-old when he died in a car accident during a medical service trip on 17 June 1970, his spirit of devotional sacrifice - "Rather be a fool"- is still compellingly felt and deeply appreciated by many Taiwanese people today.

In Dr William Sia's early medical practice, he voluntarily served those patients with lung diseases in those far-away rural villages in Taichung and Nan-tou areas; he also served those poor patients with polio and black foot disease among the coast areas in Changhua and Tainan.

In 1955, Dr. Sia inaugurated as an Adjunct Superintendent of Puli Christian Hospital; in 1956, he established the first psychiatric center for lung disease patients in Puli; in 1960, he became the first Christian doctor to operate for black foot disease patients in Tainan; in 1964, he established Er-lin Christian Hospital which was the first hospital independently run by Taiwanese.

To commemorate Dr. William Sia's centenary birthday and his contribution to Taiwan, both a press conference and a premiere of Dr. Sia's DVD animation picture was held at Tsai Ray-yueh Foundation of Culture in Taipei on April 14.

This was an activity jointly held by many institutes, including Changhua Christian Hospital, Er-lin Christian Hospital, Puli Christian Hospital, Nan-tou District of Taichung Presbytery, Nan-tou Presbyterian Church, YMCA of Changhua County, Youth and Pine Life Ministry Committee of PCT and William Sia Memorial Youth Camp.

Dr Yang Chong-ing, widow of Dr William Sia and a 95-years-old lady now, also showed up at the conference for the premiere of Dr. Sia's DVD animation picture. She expressed her special thanksgiving to God's comfort and care during that very difficult period, when Dr William Sia suddenly died in the car crash, because she had to raised up four young children single-handed even though she was a doctor then."

Pledging to carry on Dr William Sia's spirit of medical missionary into those far-away rural villages, many invited guests, including Rev. Sudu Tada(PCT Moderator of General Assembly), Rev. Chen Hsin-liang(Chairman of Changhua Christian Hospital), Dr Kuo So-ren(Superintendent of Changhua Christian Hospital), Dr Chen Yong-hsin(Chairman of Taiwan Peoples News), Dr Chen Hen-chang(Superintendent of Puli Christian Hospital) and the families of Dr William Sia, stood by Dr Yang Chong-ing after a minimized model of Dr William Sia's childhood playing-ground among house stairs blossomed with heart-shaped cards of virtues.

Also in the press conference on April 14 , the William Sia Social Service and Care Association, established on 18 March 2016, was officially launched into operation with a purpose to serve the marginalized in Changhua County and the neighboring areas.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Pledging to carry on Dr William Sia's spirit of medical missionary into those far-away rural villages, many invited guests stood by Dr Yang Chong-ing(widow of Dr William Sia stood at the center in white sweater) after a minimized model of Dr William Sia's childhood playing-ground among house stairs blossomed with heart-shaped cards of virtues, on an press conference and premiere of Dr William Sia's animation DVD at Taipei on 14 April 2016.

Photo by Lin Yi-yin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3346 Edition

April 11 - 17, 2016

Editorial

 

Now Jesus Is Standing By Us

 

Many Taiwan cities and counties set up April 7 as a Freedom of Speech Day, in order to commemorate the self-immolation of Mr Cheng Nylon 27 years ago for his martyrdom of pursuing the ideal of "100% freedom of speech". When Mr Cheng endured an unspeakable pain in the burning flames, his resistant body still stretched straight without bending to surrender. Though his burnt down body was dead then, no body left the blazed site without tears or shocks.

In the news or coverage of contemporary mainstream media, which were no less different from the government propaganda, this self-immolation event was described as an event of rebel. United Evening News wrote in a wishful guess, "After Cheng Nylon ignited a gasoline bomb, he seems run out of his mind. Except attacking the police, he also assaults his colleagues of the magazine". Carrying with kinds of unbelievable conspiracy stories, rumors then always hinted that this blazing event was started from Nylon's attack of the police.

But, the paradox of history just lies in this story. Even though KMT government firmly gripped the state machine and media for decades, Nylon's pursuit of freedom cannot be stopped eventually. A defiant protest in flame, though, this fiery thrust broke down the iron-hands of an authoritarian regime and woke up the mind of those aspiring freedom yet in slumber. Now, what Nylon most insisted and treasured as our basic rights - "freedom of speech" and "Taiwan independence" have become Taiwan's most important spiritual assets.

In contrast with a totalitarian but failed KMT, overwhelmed by Taiwan's democracy, PCT seems to receive a mock by our Lord God. In Taiwan's pursuit of democracy, most PCT churches actually do not perform well on their duty. What they have successfully done are just living a quiet and mediocre life inside church walls! Only a few PCT pastors are called to step into Taiwan's history. Maybe this is a historical coincidence, or maybe this is a decision after their deliberate thought. Whatsoever, these brave PCT pastors take up their cross, and such decisions impress deep into the heart of Taiwanese people. Now, if Taiwan's democratic success is mentioned, the contribution of PCT will never be forgot.

Even though PCT's modern engagement in a democratic Taiwan is described as a black humor joked by our Lord God, as a matter of fact, it is a proof of the power of our Almighty God. Because even most PCT church live a mediocre life in Taiwan's modern history, the cross is raised high anyhow. The remained problem are, whether today's PCT is conscious about such amazing grace or how can PCT carry on such good witness in the future? Of what kinds of legacy could we still boast, except the missionary glories left by our forebears in faith?

Diverse voices and opinions seem inevitable for a huge institute like PCT, which has over 1,000 local congregations across Taiwan. And PCT's leadership in collegiate council, a cooperative management being held by the elders, is basically different from those traditional hierarchy system or linear leadership in charisma. Initially, in order to search the Lord's will in diverse points of view and avoid the danger of idolization, it was a good-will for PCT to practice a council system in church management. It also demonstrates PCT's theological roots in faith: a confession of our sins and weakness. But, it seems the tide turns, some PCT churches do not even remember their stance and start to  play the old game of hierarchy leadership. Even worse, there comes the crisis of dictatorship in the church leadership, expelling all people with different opinions as heretics and boasting the leaders themselves as the prophet of the Lord.

At this very moment, when Mr Cheng Nylon is commemorated for his extraordinary sacrifice for Taiwan's freedom of speech and PCT is also remembered for her past contribution to Taiwan's democracy, let us be humble again and do not forget we are just the pardoned sinners! In his own time, Jesus was also judged as a trouble maker who had to be removed anyway. Maybe now he is standing by us and reminding us something very hard to digest!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3346 Edition

April 11 - 17, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Running For Jesus, Seediq Abriginal Youth Encouraged To Serve The Tribe In Challenges

 

Reported by Ispalakan Umav

 

On April 2, the second round of road running contest - " Running For Jesus" - was held by Alang Snuwing Church of PCT's Seediq District. About 200 aboriginal Seediq youth and adult were attracted to take part into this 14 kilometer event. Rev. Sudu Tada, Moderator of PC General Assembly, was specially invited to give his blessing and prayer to launch this event.

Rev. Peto Ukan, pastor of Alang Snuwing church, remarked that this event was initiated simply for sport and evangelical sake, when every tribe fellows returned home at the festival of sweeping tomb. As it went into the second round, this road running event learned the importance of the youth's opinions and wished to cultivate the co-workers of next generation, said Rev. Ukan, "The whole idea of road running event is attributed to our church youth, and all elders and deacons just support and follow!"

Ms Sipuy Peto, adviser of Juvenile Fellowship at Alang Snuwing church, pointed out the purpose of such road running event was to encourage the aboriginal youth persisting their faith in kinds of challenge and hardship. "Tired or fatigued, however, we will run till the end!", pledged Ms Peto.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3346 Edition

April 11 - 17, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Proposing Women Leadership, Asian Fellowship Of Mission 21 Partners Convenes At YSTCS

 

Reported by Lin Chia-jin

 

From April 10 to 12, a women leadership workshop organized by Asian Fellowship of Mission 21 was held at Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary(YSTCS) in eastern Taiwan. Over a hundred female pastors, from Swiss, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, were invited to attend this convention.

Through discussing practical issues for women in the church, like how to break through a traditional male-dominated framework; reclaim the female right of self-definition; speak out in the public spheres; make the awareness of gender-issue as a mainstream agenda; materialize the spirit of CEDAW(The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), this women workshop wished to demonstrate the charisma and importance of women leadership in the ecumenical world.

Pastor Claudia Bandixen, the general secretary of Mission 21 from Swiss, remarked that actually it was a very luxurious time for women to attend the one-week assembly. For female pastor, she not only had to handle the church affairs but also the family demands. In contrast, male pastors seldom had such kind of burden. She encouraged female pastors to break through the limitation of such male-dominated traditional framework.

Ms Chiu Kai-li, an assistant professor of Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, was invited to deliver a speech on how to overcome the traditional male-dominated framework of theology; Rev. Tau Yueh-may of The Garden of Hope Foundation explained how CEDAW was practiced in Taiwan; Current general secretary of PROK(The Presbyterian Church of Korea) and Rev. Hwang Chiu-lan from BCCM(Basel Christian Church of Malaysia) were invited to share the roles and challenges in Korean and South-Eastern Asia respectively.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Members, participating this women leadership workshop, danced together during the meeting.

Photo by Lin Chia-jin

 
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Taiwan Church News

3346 Edition

April 11 - 17, 2016

Headline News

 

Commemorating Nylon Cheng, Tsai Ing-wen Promises A National Freedom Of Speech Day

 

Reported by Lin Yi-yin

 

On April 7, a day Taiwan people commemorates Mr Nylon Cheng's self-immolating for free speech 27 years ago, the semi-President Ms Tsai Ing-wen promises to set up this day as a national freedom of speech day.

"I hope next year's April 7, when I stand here again, all Taiwanese people can remember this day not just as a day remembering freedom martyr of Nylon Cheng but also a national freedom of speech day!", says Tsai.

Tsai remarks in straight, "Pursuing fairness and justice doesn't need too much political bargain or calculation, the most imprtant is to act in courage!" Tsai says, if there were no such inspiring legacy left by these democratic predecessors like Nylon Cheng, there is no chance for DPP to win the 2016 election.

Interviewed by media, Ms Yeh Chyu-lan, widow of Nylon Cheng, reminds that freedom of speech is so fragile that it needs our diligent protection to save it from any authoritarian clamp again. She is very glad to learn from Ms tsai Ing-wen that the new government will set up April 7 as a national freedom of speech day.

Prof Yau Li-ming, a famous political commentator, affirms the contribution of Nylon's sacrifice for Taiwan's freedom of speech. Just like the death of Jesus brings a new life to other people, the martyrdom of Nylon Cheng makes Taiwan live again, says Yau.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3345 Edition

April 4 - 10, 2016

Editorial

 

Visions In A Jubilant PCT150

 

The 61st annual meeting of PCT has just finished in a perfect ending. Compared with the original 4 days schedule, from May 29 to April 1, this annual meeting unusually closed in the afternoon on May 31, which is just one day in advance of the meeting schedule. Regarding this smooth ending earlier than expected, some representatives of this meeting remark that this is due to no personnel cases proposed for the three major PCT affiliated hospitals; some say it is because a good pre-negotiations on many proposals before the formal meetings; some praise this meeting's Moderator whose efficiency plays a vital role; some say the meeting has made a great progress in quality as no more verbal abuse of name-calling shows up and etc. Certainly, there are some complain it makes no sense to close meeting one day earlier as time is too short to state their complete opinion. This is PCT, however, an argumentative Christian denominational group descended from the Reformation, having a very complex structure and many affiliated institutions. We dare not boast as the prophets of this time, though, PCT still seeks to reflect and advance through open debate and frank criticism. We PCT are a missionary church with a glorious past and a visionary future!

Because 2016 is named by PCT as an year of "Ministry of Society and Church", a four-dimensional ministry report in the fields of "Justice and Peace", "First Aid", "Community Care" and "Environmental Protection" is delivered in the annual meeting. Be it the first aid story by Rev. Hwang Che-chien, describing how Tayal Presbytery cooperated with the General Assembly Office carrying the foods and necessary daily goods on foot into the afflicted Wu-lai area after Typhoon Soudelor swept across Taiwan in the August of 2015; or, a vivid report by Rev. Keng Ming-teh dressed in his cleaning suit, sharing how local churches cooperated with the civilian environmental protection groups to cleanup the rivers stuck with kinds of garbage during a PCT movement for Clearup Coast of Taiwan, all these stories are impressively encouraging. But, it's still a pity, that PCT did not take part into the most important anti-nuclear protest in 2015. In the mean time, an appropriate PCT response to the tragic beheading crime against a two-year-old girl in Taipei is still absent. And these events deserve PCT to take a further review.

Since this is a PCT annual meeting, designed to vote on ministry proposals and personnel cases, it's no wonder there might have different stances or contentious arguments. But, this is also a testing field to show our common sense or attitude about what democracy means for the church. Whether they will be respected or ridiculed, church leaders are responsible on their own speech. A civilized debate, however, is actually an asset of our church and society. Through election or resolution on many ministry proposals, the representatives of PCT annual meeting transform into the messengers leading our local churches to walk together toward a common future. If we fight against each other after we leave the meeting, increasing the strength of our biased factions and decreasing the number of PCT believers, then we are absolutely unfit to be the housekeeper granted by our Lord!

In addition to the issues mentioned above, whether a southern synod is appropriate or reasonable, this is a matter still waits PCT to have a cool thinking and dialogue. Also, we have to be vigilant about the followings: the financial truth about the donations for PCT150 and how to deal with the "puppet" board of management at Chang-Jung Christian University. May us realize the PCT spirit of "Follow Jesus In Unity, Be Loyal In Humbleness"!

 
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